Many parts of the brain improve as you age

One of the great, enduring myths about getting older is that your brain starts fading and there’s nothing you can do about it. In reality most people’s brains keep powering on in much the same way until their 80s. In fact, there’s some brain-related things which you keep getting better at well into your 60s and 70s; things like:

  • People skills

  • Vocabularies (and often better written communication)

  • Mental arithmetic

  • Controlling emotions

  • Patience

  • Understanding of world affairs and big picture issues

The best thing you can do to keep your brain working well as you age is to follow the old maxim “use it or lose it”. Continuing to use and challenge your brain keeps it sharp. This can be anything from:

  • Regular puzzles or games like crosswords, scrabble and trivial pursuit

  • Conversation on current affairs and issues (rather than small talk)

  • Expanding your knowledge with formal courses or informal learning

  • Learning new skills like languages, musical instruments or other creative pursuits

  • Travel and new experiences which expand your mind

Keeping your brain healthy is also closely inter-related to some of the other five key ingredients for a Full Time Life. Regular exercise has been shown to have a very positive effect on brain function and having good friends and a large social network also seems to help keep the brain healthy and dementia at bay.

Further reading